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Wizz Air losses grow as revenue per passenger falls

Transport

Hungarian low-fare carrier Wizz Air on Wednesday reported a loss of EUR 267.5 million for the third quarter of its business year started April 1, widening from a EUR 116.4 mln loss in the base period, according to a report by state news wire MTI.

Passenger numbers jumped 243% to 7,787,198, but revenue climbed at a slower pace, rising 173% to EUR 408.4 mln.

Wizz Air said revenue per available seat kilometer (RASK) fell 8% to EUR 2.49, as prices were cut to stimulate demand amid high market capacity and persistent pandemic travel restrictions in a number of markets.

The average revenue per passenger fell 21% to EUR 52.35.

Wizz Air CEO József Váradi said the emergence of the Omicron coronavirus variant impacted performance late in the quarter, adding that "ongoing travel uncertainty" is expected to impact demand in "January, February, and part of March".

Wizz Air expects its Q4 operating loss to be "slightly higher" than the Q3 loss of EUR 213.6 mln, he added.

"Despite the short-term headwinds, we are cautiously optimistic for a continued recovery into spring and near-full utilization from summer onwards," Váradi said.

 "We continued to ramp up our workforce, fleet, bases, and routes to support our path to full utilization and pre-COVID 19 cost structure by late spring 2022," he added.

Wizz Air had liquidity of EUR 1.4 bln at the end of December.

Váradi noted that Wizz Air placed an order for up to 196 new Airbus neo aircraft in November, with the bulk of deliveries planned from 2025 onwards. The order will be a "cornerstone" for the airline's aim to grow its fleet to 500 aircraft by the end of the decade, he added.

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